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Nov 18, 2012 07:39 PM

Smoked turkey

I am going to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. The smoker manufacturer recipe, which is short on inspiration, suggests 10 - 12 hours for 15 -18 lbs. Recipes online suggest 4-1/2 to 5. To prepare this by working backwards in time, that is quite a time difference.

What do members if this community suggest?

On warm in Nebraska,


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  1. You may want to post this in the Home Cooking section. I thought you might be looking for a regional supplier of them, and was going to suggest Bergers Smokehouse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lemons

      I will do that next time. At this time, I am getting help on the question. Thanks Lemons!

    2. I just finished smoking a 7 lb. turkey breast--my recipes called for SLOW smoking (200-225 degrees) for an hour & quarter per pound. I smoked it for a little over 7 hours and it was perfect. The 4.5-5 might be OK for a "hot" cooking, but...........

      1 Reply
      1. re: Longing for Italy

        When you say "hot" cooking, what temp are you thinking of? Is this above 250 degrees?

        Thank you for you reply.

      2. Hi,
        Figure about 20 minutes per pound and use a thermometer to check the final reading.
        This has worked well for me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phood

          I appreciate the reply. Thanks Phood.

        2. What piece of equipment are you smoking it on and what temp will you be using? Answering it without those two things is a wild guess at best.

          5 Replies
          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

            I am using a Brinkmann. The temp is between 225 and 250. It's hard to maintain a constant temp.

            1. re: jerrylnkne

              I hear ya. I used to have a Brinkmann. I assume you are talking a vertical water smoker?

              No way is your 4 1/2 to 5 going to do it. Your 10-12 is probably closer. Assuming you are talking a vertical water smoker.
              You need to monitor the bird temp. 20 minutes per pound is a time you get when you cook at 350 in a solid tight vessel. A Drafty Brinkmann at 225-250 is going to take much longer.
              One trick to crisp it up at the end is remove the water pan for a few minutes on each side. give you a nice brown skin.

              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                Trust this person. He well knows wwhereof he speaks.

                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                  Thank you. This describes the Brinkmann perfectly. I will plan on the 10 - 12 hours.

                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                    I had a 14.5# sans thighs (legs were present but disconnected) in my 18.5 wsm, temps were generally 250-280. Took 2.5 hours to get it to 148 (the temp I take my turkeys out)

              2. The only downside of the Brinkmann is that likes to and was designed to sit around 250F and that you will not get crispy skin at that temp..

                And to quote Taylor Swift, "you're nover ever ever never gonna get crispy turkey skin at that temp. Like, ever." LOL..

                I just did 2 hens In my Brinkmann last week. Great chicken with great smoked taste. Floppy skin. As always.

                I pull the skin when carving or pulling and shove it under the broiler for smoked "cracklins," but , as stated abov,e throw the turkey under the broiler and it will crsip right up. Watch overcooking the bird tho.

                Sadly, 250F is just too low to make crispy skin work just on that smoker, That's where a Weber kettle and 325F does the perfect job.
                BTDT x 100.

                Remote probe thermometer.
                I also have built both a thermal blanket and top hat for my Brinkmann to help keep the temps up once the weather gets cold.
                Yes. I like it that much. :-)

                Good luck.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                  Thanks for your reply. I enjoy smoking ribs and other pork products on this smoker. This turkey experiment will test my caveman obsession with stoking fires. 10-12 hours is just a really
                  long time to pay attention so single-mindedly to one thing.

                  1. re: jerrylnkne

                    Since there are so many variables, why don't you dispense with the watch and use a thermometer? Turkeys can't tell time anyway!!! :))

                    Luck! ~~ Happy TG.

                    1. re: jerrylnkne

                      If you ever get the urge, I highly recommend you upgrade to a Weber Smokey Mountain. Had mine since 96 or so and never looked back.

                      Thanks Lemons! ; )

                      Happy Thanksgiving!